[Ethiopia] The World Beyond Sight Part 1/ You are the Only Reason - Sponsor Visit
This Golden Week I went to Ethiopia, where most people wonder “Why are you go there?”.
For the girl I sponsor lives in Ethiopia, for I promised her, for I’ve thought to visit for several years.
She lives in a very distant place, as long as I fly over mountains and oceans, and been driven for several hours, I could see her.
Tokyo-Hong Kong (5H), Hong Kong-Addis Ababa (11H), Addis Ababa-Jimma (1H), Jimma-Her home (2H by road, 100km)
Ignore all idling and waiting time, the moving time is 19hrs.
I’ve thought many situations.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I have been warning myself by this.
Such as, the human natural is universal everywhere in the world, how can I help Roza without harming her; how can I react in a totally different culture?
For me, the purpose is truly simple and clear that I go Ethiopia to see my friend, a friend I have been communicating by mail almost six years. However, I know to visit her is my wishful thinking, are we on the same page? Maybe yes, maybe not. For sure we are equal, the only point is I have some resources and I am willing to share with the others, that one is Roza.
Besides, that's not an astronomical number in Taiwan: 700NTD per month to sponsor a foreign child, additional 500NTD per month to support other projects (link).
On the other hand, I asked for the list of goods Roza needs. Will other children be jealous after she received many gifts at once?
Last but not least, many people praised me for sponsor children, I do really appreciate that, but I know that's not the real story.
To donate money is easy, to devote oneself is never easy.
Sometimes the unpredictable parts decorate life.
Like people asked me, is it an on-site inspection visit? Do I ever expect any feedback from Ethiopians?
For me, it's so weird to expect anything in return before I share something. That’s much closer to a deal or an invest, not share. I could only decide what I want to do, not in reverse.
On the other hand, my experience in Ethiopia in the previous days was not really good :(I know almost nothing about Roza and her life, but I remind myself to respect the lifestyle there.
For this reason, I remind myself that I know almost nothing about Roza and her life, but to respect the lifestyle there.
--Those I have never thought.
從Addis Ababa到Jimma, 搭飛機只要55分，是有限的假期下最好的選擇。
It takes almost one hour from Addis Ababa to Jimma by airplane. As usual, the window seat is my favorite.
When I was approaching Jimma, I saw the iron-roofed houses reflect sunshine, shining like silver lines sewing in the green mountains.
It could be so beautiful. (but... isn't it hot?)
Before I arrived Jimma airport, the members of World Vision Ethiopia (WVE) were there waiting for me. Then I learned the Ethiopian way to say hello: firstly shaking hands, then tough right shoulders in gentle.
With the beautiful pastoral view, relatively good infrastructures, and the hearty laughter from Mr. Melkamu, I felt relax here. In Jimma, the hometown of coffee.
After two hours of driving on the rough mountain road, we finally arrived the office of World Vision Ethiopia (WVE) in Sokoro area, which is 100km away from Jimma airport.
Mr. Debelle, the manager presented the projects in detail with all other staffs attended. I do appreciate their time for what I do is so tiny and not worth mention.
Sokoro area project kicked off in 2008, with the support of federal government, they have been running many projects like ventilated improved pit latrines/toilets, vet post, reading camp and so on.
They are really doing something meaningful, improving the life of people day by day.
With the freshly roasted coffee, popcorn, and the cubic pastry I brought from Taiwan (too sweet to Ethiopian!), we took pictures and then left the office.
5/5 Patriots’ Victory Day, 一個我不曾注意的國定假日，今天不是上課的日子。
May 5th, Patriots’ Victory Day, a national holiday I have never noticed.
Still, there are hundreds students and villagers waiting for me.
Finally, I met Roza, she gave me a bunch of flowers. Holding her hand, the staffs translated every sentence we said. Although we have been mailed to each other almost six years, this is the first time we meet that we could not chat easily and freely.
All the presence of people is looking forward that I “say something”.
Somehow nervous. I know I am a nobody and I could only stand for myself. But here, at this moment, I am the one on behalf of Taiwan.
After a few seconds, I decided to share my experience objectively: "I am lucky that I had the good education in Taiwan, that’s why I have the chance to stand here, to meet you all. The more knowledge you have, the more opportunities you can do something different."
I don't want to judge anything subjectively, for I don't understand the culture here, for there is no absolute "Right" and "Wrong" in the world.
As Roza's guest, we followed by a group of people on the way to her home. Some of them followed but kept a distance from us. A staff whispered to me: “the villagers were very shy to us.”
So that's how it is.
The combination is interesting.
A Christian organization is improving the life of Muslims, and the only sponsor on the site is a (not very devoted) mix of Buddist and Taoist.
How nice it is. Our religions are different, we are all here without conflict.
Then finally I arrived her home. A beautiful traditional house decorated with the posters to welcome me.
I knew Roza Roza lives with her mother and grandmother in the grandmother's house before the journey, but I never expected they have soooooo many relatives and neighbors! I greeted to Roza's family and the respected elders, her mother hugged me tightly and kissed my cheeks... Who said they are shy!
I was really surprised by the number of villagers: dozens in the yard (most are kids) and more outside of Roza's home, they are so curious about me. Hey, I don't mind people observe me like an endangered animal, honestly, I was observing them as well, that's fair haha! Not mention the fact that human beings are animals, or to say homo sapiens if it sounds nicer. In addition, I believe Taiwanese is very rare in Ethiopia lol
With their warm hospitality, we talked with nice bread, fruits, popcorn, and tea. Surprisingly, the village chief mentioned I am very famous here, for many villagers have seen the picture I sent to Roza these years. I can't stop but laugh, how cute they are! In the end, I even prayed together with the Muslims (for sure I didn't know the content!)
After a while, still, Roza was next to me but we have nothing to talk. I don't like that, it's time to say something! Then I shared the pictures I took in Taiwan, explained the story behind one by one. Gradually, I felt somehow guilty by the contrast of Taiwan and Ethiopia, by the huge gap of resources...
I have been thinking of what can I do for Roza, her family, and friends, something they could keep with them. Well, taking pictures might not be easy for them. After I posted the idea on my Facebook, my friend generously borrowed me her instant camera.
"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
All good thing come to an end, it's about time to go.
On the way to the car, Roza took the initiative to hold my hand, I know it's not easy for a shy child. The other hand wiping tears away secretly, but I can do nothing-- I can not say something to comfort her (in her language), I can not promise to visit her again. The only thing I can promise is I will write to her as before.
She said thank you.
We said goodbye.
Hope we could meet up again.
Mr. Melkamu一路細心關照，還有許許多多有趣的談話、司機Mr. Cherinet狂野但安全(?)的接送、計劃區主任Mr. Debelle詳盡的介紹、及所有工作人員的協助，你們在進行的工作非常偉大，我真的看見對當地人生活的改善！
Many thanks to Ms. Kao of World Vision Taiwan (WVT) for the arrangement and contact of the visit, and the warm hospitality from all members of World Vision Ethiopia (WVE).
Mr. Melkamu, thank you so much for your accompany my stay, I do really appreciate the talks we had in varies fields.
Mr. Cherinet, your wild driving skill conquers the roads, thank you (but not this way in Taiwan please :P).
Mr. Debelle, thanks for your detailed introduction of the running projects,
And all the members of WVE, you are really doing great jobs, I do see the improvement of life to the local people.
Thanks to my family, mother and sister donated their stationery, all teachers and students are happy receiving that (brother, you are absence this time lol); thanks to Phoebe for borrowing your Polaroid, thanks to all my friends, I am fine as usual, wherever I am.
This article had been agreed by World Vision before release to avoid leakage of sensitive information of sponsor child, her families, her neighbors and her villagers.
GINII社團〈Growing for Improved Nutrition and Increased Income〉：社團內包含7個發展活動，主要整合灌溉/水資源衛生、家庭菜園、農耕培訓、營養餵食、烹調知識等活動，提升家庭的生計能力與相關知識，並改善兒童營養健康狀況。
VIP廁所〈Ventilated Improved Pit latrines/toilets〉：改良式通風廁所，屬水資源衛生專案的一部分，過去兒童和居民會隨地便溺，但透過改良式通風廁所，提升當地的衛生狀況，進而善兒童與居民的健康情形。
校舍修建〈additional block construction〉：因學生比例高過校舍可容納的數量，造成教室內過於壅擠和老舊，因此需要透過教育方案中的校舍修建，改善學童的求學環境。